CEO of Bidease, an AdTech startup on a mission to bring fully transparent, value-driven advertising to the mobile world.
It is well known that different colors can affect the human brain subconsciously. Being exposed to certain colors triggers chemical reactions, resulting in a specific emotional response. For example, red increases the heart rate and subconsciously evokes the feeling of excitement, passion or danger, while blue, on the contrary, has a calming effect, reducing the heart and breathing rate. The study of how colors affect the nervous system is called color psychology.
Color psychology has helped identify patterns that are now widely used in branding and marketing, both of which study human psychology and consumer behavior. Here, the effective use of colors in building brand identity is yet another opportunity to influence the consumer and inform the required opinion about the product.
Brand identity is one of the key factors of success for any business. The need for a set of qualities to set you apart from the competition is especially acute today when there are both established and emerging industries developing on the market. In the former case, companies operate in a highly competitive environment where there is usually little difference in the quality of their goods and services. In the latter case, a company's market position largely depends on better product quality, but the role of factors other than quality will increase in the long run. Thus, in both cases, a strong brand identity is an opportunity to stand out among the other companies in the eyes of your customers.
In this article, I'll give you five ways of using color effectively to build an eye-catching brand identity.
Table of Contents
1) Using Color In Corporate Identity
Corporate identity is a specific color palette a brand uses when designing its products and related elements and a fundamental visual component of brand identity. Having an original and catchy identity is key to high brand recognition. For example, there is a 99% chance that hearing the words "drink" and "red" will make you think of Coca-Cola. This association results from the consistent use of the company’s trademark red color.
In building a corporate identity, it is extremely important to create a color palette that would reflect the personality and values of the brand. This palette should be integrated into the design of your website, packaging, promotional materials and social media profiles. Consistent use of a particular set of colors creates visual harmony in everything the brand presents to the general public. Creating a color palette thus helps improve brand recognition, making it more memorable and authentic.
2) Using Color In Product Packaging
Packaging is the face of the product. Design is often the decisive factor for choosing one product over another, with superior quality often being unable to compensate for the lack of attractive and recognizable packaging. Using bright or harmonious colors in its design is another way to stand out from the competition. Following up on the Coca-Cola case, let us look at Pepsi, their main competitor. This company entered the market later and used blue to attract consumer attention and set itself apart from its rival.
Do some research to determine the dominant colors used by competitors in your industry and choose the ones that would make your brand stand out. With unique colors, a brand can attract attention, become recognizable and build a unique identity. Remember, the customers unfamiliar with your product often make their choices based on its visual characteristics.
3) Using Emotions Associated With Specific Colors
As mentioned above, colors tend to trigger certain emotions. Patterns determined by color psychology can help a brand anticipate the subconscious reaction of its target audience.
This color-reaction relationship can be used in marketing materials. By picking the right colors for their ads, advertisers can cause specific emotional responses that are more likely to lead customers to target actions.
4) Using Colors To Convey Product Qualities
Do you think it is a coincidence that many pharmaceutical companies choose green as part of their corporate identity? Hardly! People subconsciously strongly associate green with nature and health. Pink is associated with tenderness and romance, and white with purity and tranquility. A brand can leverage these associations to influence the consumer perception of product qualities.
For example, a luxury brand can use gold or silver accents to evoke a feeling of exquisiteness and exclusivity. A brand focused on health or sustainability can choose shades of green, beige and light brown. Understanding the emotions associated with different colors allows brands to strategically impact the perception of their products or services.
5) Adapting Color To A Cultural Context
Color interpretation is specific to the cultural context. The same color can have opposite meanings in different countries. Take green, for example. Besides its universal symbolism—nature and life—it can also bear additional meanings. In the United States, green is associated with money and prosperity, while in China, it can be associated with marital infidelity. The Chinese use the expression "wear a green hat" when referring to female infidelity, and men, by all means, avoid green headwear. Using green baseball caps as brand merchandise could thus lead to a scandal.
Operating on the global market, a company must allow for such cultural nuances in its corporate identity. To avoid situations that might negatively affect the company image and financial performance in the region, do some research on its cultural peculiarities. Not only will it be useful in terms of color symbolism, but will also help the company take into account other region-specific subtleties.
The abovementioned ways of using color in forming brand identity constitute a great tool for businesses to understand and anticipate target audience reactions. Knowing how corporate identity or packaging color can affect the consumer helps businesses plan and impact how the consumers perceive product qualities.
Thoughtful and consistent use of color when designing whatever the company releases to the public results in a strong brand identity and higher brand recognition. Which will ultimately lead to a rise in performance across the board.